Executive Order 1010

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Signed by President  Theodore Roosevelt  Tuesday, January 19, 1909
Revoked by Executive Order 1074, May 21, 1909. Also see Executive Orders 306, 310, and 311 of March, 1905.

I hereby call the attention of the heads of Executive Departments, Bureaus and Commissions to the following correspondence between the American Institute of Architects and myself:

The American Institute of Architects, 
Washington, D. C., January 11, 1909.

To the President of the United States:

Sir: In the rapid advancement which our country had made in all other phases of civilization, the arts have been denied that governmental consideration which is so universally accorded by other nations.

This is not due to lack of appreciation on the part of the people, nor can it be said that the Government has withheld financial support, for, since the formation of the Government, over five hundred million dollars have been expended for public buildings, monuments and other works of art. About ninety per cent. of this amount has been spent during the last quarter century, while present appropriations contemplate the expenditure of over forty millions more.

The expenditure of these vast sums signifies that we are establishing, at a rate never before exceeded, lasting monuments to our civilization. Under our lack of system, and in the absence of proper management, the results do not adequately and properly represent or express the state of enlightenment and cultivation which our people have attained.

The works of art of a nation are the documents by which it is judged, and their permanence is sufficient reason for extraordinary care in their design and execution. When such works are undertaken by a government, a high standard of excellence becomes a national obligation.

Whenever the Government proposes any great project of public utility, such as irrigation or reclamation of land, the improvement of rivers or harbors, the Panama Canal, or any great engineering work, it is taken as a matter of course that the plans must receive the fullest measure of expert advice and criticism from men of eminence in the profession concerned, but such is not the case in works which relate to the arts.

The only department which has achieved any success in this direction is the Treasury Department, through the Supervising Architect's Office, since the passage of the Tarsney Act.

In the early days of the republic, President Washington and his immediate successors sought trained experts in the arts and called to the service of the country those of the highest skill, and employed them in a consistent effort toward the building of the nation's capital. Even in that formative period of the nation, with the continent undeveloped and the finances at a low ebb, the Government saw to it that these matters were handled with no less intelligence and far-sightedness than the other projects which engaged its attention, and as a result, the earliest buildings of the Government, not only in the capital, but elsewhere, rank among the great architectural triumphs of their period. The several States and their growing cities were influenced accordingly.

With the rapid growth of the country, this systematic method of procedure was lost sight of. L'Enfant's beautiful plan of Washington suffered through the power of each department to choose the site for its own building, and the fact that such a plan existed was almost, if not entirely, forgotten. The White House itself, within recent years, has been threatened with mutilation through the efforts of misguided enthusiasm for supposed improvement. Wise action by the present Executive alone saved this monument, but there is no assurance for its future.

Existing public buildings are largely subject to modification due to the caprice or supposed convenience of temporary officials. New buildings are located without proper regard for their convenience or dignity and without a view to the inevitable requirement for increasing dimensions, resulting in additional expense. Frequently, they are found inadequate even before they are completed. Our statues, paintings and other works of art are treated with like indifference to the dictates of common sense. Our coinage and our engraved notes have been equally neglected.

The revival of L'Enfant's plan of the city of Washington through the efforts of the American Institute of Architects, has awakened the public to a consciousness of its importance and made possible the realization of its essential features, but the necessity of some adequate safeguard for the future is made evident by the fact that ever since the plan was revived there have been serious attempts to encroach upon it. We believe that a permanent and definite authority should be established to which shall be referred for approval or disapproval, the plans and designs of all future public works of architecture, paintings, sculpture, parks, bridges, or other works of which the art of design forms an integral part; that to its care should be entrusted the conservation of historic monuments; and that this authority should be vested in a Bureau of Fine Arts, as a part of a Division of Public Instruction, which could itself be under the Secretary of the Interior, and could include Bureaus of Education, Science and the Fine Arts.

Under present conditions we suggest that, as an initiatory step, the President designates a Council of the Fine Arts, which could exercise advisory functions when called upon, and could also make recommendations upon its own initiative.

We suggest:

  1. That the council should consist of architects, painters, sculptors, landscape Architects and laymen, appointed by the President, from nominations made by the Directors of the American Institute of Architects.
  2. That the Supervising Architect of the Treasury should be the executive.
  3. That the object should be to have the Council advise upon the character and design of all public works of architecture, painting, sculpture; all monuments, parks, bridges, and other works of which the art of design forms an integral part; and to make recommendations for the conservation of all historic monuments.
  4. That the details of carrying out this arrangement should be left to the direction of the American Institute of Architects, in collaboration with the Supervising Architect of the Treasury.


Yours very respectfully,
For the Committee, 

Glenn Brown, 

Secretary.
Committee:
Cass Gilbert,
S. B. P. Trowbridge,
Wm. A. Boring,
Glenn Brown,
C. Grant La Farge,
George B. Post,
Robert S. Peabody.


The White House, 
Washington, January 11, 1909.

Gentlemen:

I cordially agree with your letter of January 11, 1909, and approve the recommendations you make. I request you to designate the names of thirty men representing all parts of the country to compose such a Council as you suggest. I understand, of course, that men representing the West are often found in New York and other large cities, simply because their work is done in such cities.

I shall direct all my Cabinet officers to refer to the Council, for their expert advice, all matters in their charge embracing architecture, selection of sites, and landscape work, sculpture and painting. Moreover, I shall request the Council to watch legislation and on its own initiative to make public recommendations to the Executive and to Congress with regard to proposed changes in existing monuments, or with regard to any new project. I earnestly advise your body to take immediate steps to secure the enactment of a law giving permanent effect to what I am directing to be done. The course you advocate, and which I approve, should not be permissive with the Executive; it should be made mandatory upon him, by act of Congress.

I shall request the Council immediately to report and give their opinion on the character and location of the Lincoln Memorial, as suggested in the resolutions passed by the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects.

I heartily thank your body for this wise and patriotic action, which will secure to the American public what is literally priceless advice from the best men in the several artistic professions throughout the country at large.

Sincerely yours,
Theodore Roosevelt. 
Messrs. Cass Gilbert,
S. B. P. Trowbridge,
Wm. A. Boring,
Glenn Brown,
C. Grant La Farce,
George B. Post,
Robert S. Peabody,
Committee, American Institute of Architects.



The American Institute of Architects, 
Washington, D. C., January 16, 1909.

To the President:

Sir: We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of January 11, 1909, addressed to the Committee of the American Institute of Architects, requesting the designation of a Council of the Fine Arts, thirty in number. That Committee has referred the matter to the Executive Committee of the Institute, which accordingly submits to you herewith the names of that number of experts in the Arts of Architecture, Sculpture, Painting and Landscape work, who are hereby recommended for your consideration.

Very respectfully,

Glenn Brown, Secretary, 
For the Committee.


The American Institute of Architects, 
Washington, D. C., January 16, 1909.

To the President:

Sir: Referring to the letter of this date relative to the Council of the Fine Arts, it may not be amiss to inform you of the method adopted and reasons for making the selection of the names appearing upon the list submitted.

The Institute "Committee on the Bureau of the Fine Arts" conferred with the Executive Committee of the Institute and requested the Executive Committee to make the selection. A large number of names were considered with a view to the eminence, availability, special experience and geographical location of the men to be designated.

As your letter of January 11th advises the Committee to take immediate steps to secure the enactment of a law, giving permanent effect to what you are directing to be done, and as the members of our Committee on the Bureau of the Fine Arts have given the subject most serious study for several years, and as they are highly qualified in other respects to act on the Council, they have been designated among the thirty.

The number of architectural questions involving not only buildings, but the selection of sites, treatment of grounds and landscape accessories will largely predominate all other problems likely to come before the Council, therefore the Committee has designated a larger number of architects than of representatives of the other arts.

We understand that it is your intention to direct the Supervising Architect of the Treasury Department to act as the executive officer for carrying out the instructions of the Council, and therefore his name has not been included in the list of thirty as it otherwise would have been.

The Committee desires to express to you, Mr. President, its hearty appreciation of the very great service you are rendering to the country and to the arts.

Very respectfully,

Glenn Brown, Secretary, 
For the Committee.


The White House, 
Washington, January 18, 1909.

My Dear Mr. Brown:

I have received your letters of January 16th and I nominate the following persons to compose the Council of Fine Arts:

Architects.
Cass Gilbert, George B. Post,
C. Grant La Farge, Arnold W. Brunner,
Walter Cook, Robert S. Peabody,
William A. Boring, Charles F. McKim,
S. B. P. Trowbridge, William S. Eames,
John G. Howard, James Rush Marshall,
Glenn Brown, Abram Garfield,
Thomas R. Kimball, Frank Miles Day,
John L. Mauran, William B. Mundie,
D. H. Burnham, C. Howard Walker.
John M. Donaldson,
Painters.
John La Farge, E. H. Blashfield,
F. D. Millet, Kenyon Cox.
Sculptors.
Daniel C. French, H. A. MacNeil,
Herbert Adams, K. T. Bitter.
Landscape Architect.
Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.


and have issued an Executive order of which I enclose a copy.

Sincerely yours,
Theodore Roosevelt. 
Mr. Glenn Brown, Secretary,
American Institute of Architects.


I direct that the heads of Executive Departments, Bureaus and Commissions govern themselves accordingly. Hereafter, before any plans are formulated for any buildings or grounds, or for the location or erection of any statue, the matter must be submitted to the Council I have named and their advice followed unless for good and sufficient reasons the President directs that it be not followed. The Supervising Architect of the Treasury will act as the executive officer for carrying out the recommendations of the Council.

Signature of Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt.

The White House

January 19, 1909.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).